July 18, 2010
Guess Who Was at the Expo?
This week and next, schools are out for winter vacation. This is odd considering most were closed very recently for teachers’ strikes, but vacation must go on! The two weeks coincide with the national Expo in Asuncion, which happens yearly. We went this past Thursday.
The Expo was a grand-scale version of the county fairs of past times, complete with blue-ribbon animals and candied apples. A whole area of rides and amusements took up the back portion of the Expo, but the entire front was filled with typical crafts and national stores. Anybody who’s somebody in the commercial world here had a booth or a building, as did as some small businesses. Practically every restaurant and empanada stand was represented.
I think the girls’ favorite part, however, was the farming. All the cattle and horse ranchers had their best and biggest livestock out for the competitions, not to mention the sheep, rabbits, chickens, ducks, goats, and turkeys. There were twin lambs that had been born earlier that day, much to Caroline’s delight. And we saw some of the fattest cows ever! Cattle-ranching is huge business here in Paraguay. Folks eat a lot of beef. We caught the beginning of a rodeo, but it was too cold to sit through the whole thing.
Several countries hosted pavilion buildings, showcasing what they are doing in Paraguay. China had booths of all sorts of inexpensive electronics, Taiwan had lots of toys and gadgets, and the United States had computers set up for information about American companies here (McDonalds, Exxon, etc.) The funniest part was that you couldn’t enter the US building without having to walk around the giant cardboard stand-up of President Obama. I wondered why China and Taiwan didn’t have similar statuettes of their presidents. I have no picture to prove this, but I also saw the worst Michael Jackson impersonator of all time. Ken made us leave the "show" because I was laughing hysterically--to the point of tears--and we didn't want to hurt the guy's feelings. They tell me he is famous throughout Paraguay, showing up at events all over the place. He apparently did lots of interviews right after the King of Pop's untimely death. Wow. I can't begin to describe him, but suffice it to say we had a very interesting day and I'd recommend the Expo to anyone close enough to swing by.